A1 Journal article (refereed)
‘Don’t ever mix God with sports’ : Christian religion in athletes’ stories of life transitions (2020)

Ronkainen, N. J., Ryba, T. V., & Tod, D. (2020). ‘Don’t ever mix God with sports’ : Christian religion in athletes’ stories of life transitions. Sport in Society, 23(4), 613-628. https://doi.org/10.1080/17430437.2019.1599199

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Ronkainen, Noora J.; Ryba, Tatiana V.; Tod, David

Journal or series: Sport in Society

ISSN: 1743-0437

eISSN: 1743-0445

Publication year: 2020

Volume: 23

Issue number: 4

Pages range: 613-628

Publisher: Routledge

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/17430437.2019.1599199

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/68302

Publication is parallel published: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/10653/

Additional information: Special Issue: Transitions in Sport Life


Sport psychology researchers have increasingly recognized the need to adopt a holistic perspective when seeking to understand athletes’ adaptation to life transitions. The present study sought to understand how religion influences athletes’ journeys in sport and experiences of life transitions. Two Christian elite athletes participated in life story interviews which we analyzed via narrative analysis. Although the participants narratively separated religious belief from sport, religion, as a source of basic world assumptions and values, provided a broader framework of meaning and continuity in their sport lives. Yet, both stories involved a growing distance to institutional religious practices and movement towards individualized religiosity as they traversed cultural and developmental transitions. For applied practitioners, it is important to be aware of the unique ways in which religion influences the sport life and to recognize personal and cultural attitudes that will shape their applied work with religious athletes.

Keywords: Christianity (religions); athletes; identity (mental objects); adaptation (change)

Free keywords: christianity; career transition; life meaning; athletic identity; adaptation

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 15:51